Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chargers End Year at Ventura

Chargers second-half comeback attempt falls short on the road.


Donna Ka' anoi
Ventura, Calif. - The Cypress College women's basketball team finished off an impressive season that included winning the Orange Empire Conference Title, a sweep of Fullerton College in two OEC contests and a first round victory over Long Beach City College on the road in the playoffs.

This young Cypress squad has a lot to be proud of, and a good chance to make a deep run in the playoffs next season with many of its key parts returning next year to play as sophomores.

Head coach Margaret Mohr would have loved to make a second straight trip to the State Championship Tournament this season, but Ventura proved to be tough down the stretch. After overcoming a first-half deficit coming out of the locker room, Cypress got right back in the game, but a late run by the Pirates put it away.

Sophomore team captain Donna Ka' anoi knew this might be her last game in a Charger uniform, and made sure that she didn't leave anything on the court. Ka' anoi scored a team-high 11 points on 4 of 6 shooting for Cypress, while collecting a team-high four steals. Lynzie Numata and Chelsea Walton both finished tied for second on the team in scoring with six points apiece. Sloan Turner pulled down a team-leading 10 boards, while Samantha Soria dished out three assists to lead the team.

In a matchup that pitted two of the top defensive squads in the state, offense was at a premium all night long. Both teams traded baskets and played tight defense for much of the first half. Cypress went ahead 21-20 with 4 minutes left in the half, but an 11-0 run by Ventura to close out the period sent the Chargers into the locker room trailing by 10.

Cypress came out of the locker room fired up and quickly went on a 7-2 run that cut the deficit in half to make it 33-28.

Ventura stretched its lead back to eight points with a three pointer that made it a 36-28 ballgame, but Cypress went into lockdown mode after that bucket with a suffocating defensive effort that held the Pirates scoreless for nearly four minutes, and got the Chargers right back in the game with a 9-1 run to make it 37-36 with just over nine minutes left to play in regulation.

After Cypress missed on multiple opportunities to take the lead over Ventura, the momentum began to shift the Pirates way. Eight straight points from the free throw put Ventura up 45-39 with 6:17 to go. The Chargers weren't able to stop Ventura's 14-9 run down the stretch, as the Pirates pulled away with an 59-48 playoff victory at home.

After the initial sting of this playoff loss wears off, the Lady Chargers will have some time to reflect on this season and begin planning for 2012-13. With an elusive Orange Empire Conference championship already under their belts, next year's Cypress College women's basketball team should have a good shot at reaching its second CCCAA State tounament in the past three years.

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